I got thinking a lot after I saw this pop up on Facebook.
As long as human beings have been conscious of their own existence in the universe there has been wonderment about the meaning of life and the place we have in it. There are traditions, rituals and beliefs that stretch back to the ‘dawn’ of our species. Indeed, how our collective ‘sun came up’ is one of the most contested and debated ideas of all time. Religion has been around longer than science (I think), but for its short time in our cultural landscape, science has weighed in just as much into the debate and for some it has turned into arguing two sides ‘evolution vrs creation’.
But we cannot ignore the fact that a very large percentage of the worlds population follows one form of religion or another. I did a quick google search (as you do) and was pretty amazed at the incredibly diverse faiths, traditions, beliefs and religions of the world. Some have emerged in more recent times to dominate in terms of numbers of followers but within Christianity alone there are so many denominations it kind of makes my head spin. I suppose one of the things that really interests me is the way cultures shift and change through migration and colonisation, especially for indigenous cultures.
I was watching Avatar recently (for about the 10th time) and aside from the futuristic offworld giant blue people and crazy scary flora and fauna, the parallels of one group trying to impose its beliefs and values on another are pretty clear. There is a pattern we shouldn’t ignore or be afraid to examine because it might help us understand and possibly reclaim some different ways of relating to nature and each other. Read More…
After viewing the artwork of Pawel Kuczynski a number of times I hear myself wondering how often do we think we have progressed or somehow learned from history (our collective cultural experience?) only to find ourselves ‘back where we started.’ Or perhaps it isn’t quite ‘going back’ but a kind of social amnesia? This could happen due to time, as generations move through and build on the past. Maybe building is a good metaphor because you can strip something back and keep the framework and rebuild something that looks different but is really the same thing but with a new look.
Another thing we do with history is we assume that we naturally progress or get better with time. How do you measure progress? I suppose technology is a good place to start. It would be hard to argue that we are more technologically advanced but is that the same as progress? Human rights might be another measure of progress, but is this where we see different countries operating versions of rights that seem from another part of history. I find it really difficult to accept that people can be stoned to death in the year 2014.
Above is my favourite Kuczynski piece that provokes a sense of ‘wait a minute…something is wrong with this picture.’